I honestly didn’t really understand how widespread my anxiety was in my everyday life until I was taking medication for it. And even then I didn’t really feel different until one day I forgot to take my meds.
Anxiety feels like you can’t stop being watchful, because if you do, something bad will happen. So you always keep watch, scanning for the trouble you just know is around the corner.
It feels like having a narrow miss, but hours later you are still consumed by how close you came to something bad happening. So you have to keep going over the situation in your head so you can figure out how to keep it from happening ever again.
It feels like being afraid of having people walk behind you in the store, because they might be trying to rob you or kidnap you.
It feels like being afraid to say the wrong thing to a very important person in your life, so you keep rehearsing the conversation in your head before you have it. And then once you start having the conversation, you start to panic and forget what it was you wanted to say, so you wing it. And then you can’t stop worrying about it hours later because you may have said the wrong thing, and they might not like you anymore.
It feels like being afraid that nothing you do at work is good enough, that everyone else is much better than you are. So you try to work harder and longer to make up for it. But any time your supervisor calls you over to talk, you have a panic attack, because you just know this time they are probably firing you.
It feels like being afraid to leave the house for work without saying “I love you” to your spouse, because you’re afraid you might die before they see you again.
It feels like being afraid that the nightmares you had the night before weren’t just dreams, but premonitions telling you something terrible will happen today. And you have to remember every detail of the dream lest you forget and miss the signs of impending doom.
It feels like you are never safe, even inside the relative safety of your own home. Because there are sharp knives in the kitchen, and what if you slipped on some water while slicing a tomato?
It feels like leaving the house to go to work, wondering if you left the stove on even though you didn’t use it, turning around to check and finding it off, and being 30 minutes late to work as a result. And then once you are at work, you suddenly wonder if you left the front door unlocked when you went back to check…
The sensation, I have heard, is like jumping out of a plane, over and over again. When I was off my meds, it was indeed as if I were falling but never hitting the ground. There was no relief. The only way I could calm myself was to keep track of every detail to stay safe. But with limited working memory… that didn’t go so well.
I hope this has helped. I’m going to go do some deep breathing exercises now.